Twin Peaks season 3 decoder: Let’s rock

Audrey Horne’s return coincided with the reappearance of a familiar phrase.

Martyn Conterio

This article contains spoilers for Twin Peaks season 3 part 12. For maximum enjoyment, we recommend reading after you’ve watched the show.


Twin Peaks fans can breathe a sigh of relief – Audrey Horne is back! Sherilyn Fenn returned in part 12 dropping f-bombs and demonstrating that her character has changed a lot since we last saw her chained to the bank vault door, just as the boobytrapped safe blew Andrew Packard (Dan O’Herlihy), Pete Martell (Jack Nance) and bank manager, Dell Mibbler (Ed Wright), to kingdom come.

For almost 25 years fans assumed, with great sorrow, that Audrey was killed in the blast. Then, in 2016, Mark Frost’s book‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’ revealed Martell managed to protect the girl from the blast, thus giving Jack Nance’s Pete an off-screen hero’s death (the actor passed away in mysterious circumstances in 1996).

Part 12 won’t go down as a classic episode, but plenty happens in it. First up, we now know that the phrase ‘blue rose’ was – as Peaks obsessives have long suspected – a code term for cases which require thinking outside the box, meaning supernatural or extraterrestrial. Gordon Cole (David Lynch) is pretty much the Nick Fury of the Blue Rose Task Force, and they’ve signed up their latest recruit, Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell). Being a member of the Blue Rose crew is perilous business, as Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) is the only one left standing (Special Agents Phil Jeffries, Chet Desmond and our boy Coop are missing). Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) was not in the blue rose circle of trust and arch-fiend Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) was only involved in Project Blue Book.

Another key scene sees Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) going loopy in a convenience store (with the accompanying soundscape lifted from Fire Walk with Me). You may well have noticed her Laura Palmer-style hairdo, and been mystified by her rambling about the new stock of beef jerky and the warning that bad things are coming. In a later exchange with Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) at the Palmer residence, she cryptically refers to there being “something” in the kitchen, when Hawk enquiries to the source of the noise he hears in the house.

In Buckhorn, South Dakota, Albert, Gordon and Tammy still don’t trust Diane (Laura Dern). The FBI Deputy Director wants to keep her close, so they ask her to join them as a deputy. She thinks about it for a moment and utters the phrase “let’s rock” (listen to the sound design, as she utters the line). The scene plays out in a library type setting, with red velvet curtains hung on the walls. Echoes of the Red Room abound. ‘Let’s rock’ directly relates to the Red Room spirits and the Man from Another Place aka The Arm (Michael J Anderson), who has evolved in season three into an electric tree. The phrase is first heard in season one during Coop’s dream (in it, he meets Laura Palmer and the Man from Another Place in the Red Room; after standing in a corner and rubbing his hands together, The Arm turns around and commences the conversation with “let’s rock.”). But why would Diane use this very expression? Is it to further hint that she’s in cahoots with Bad Coop?

The phrase turns up again in Fire Walk with Me. Sent to investigate the murder of Teresa Banks (Pam Gidley), Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) disappears into thin air at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, in Deer Meadow, WA, upon touching the green jade ring he finds underneath a trailer. Dale Cooper is dispatched to Deer Meadow and Wind River to find out what’s going on. He finds no trace of the agent, but does find his car with ‘let’s rock’ written on the windshield in what looks like red felt pen.

The phrase’s appearance in Fire Walk with Me is a nod to the film’s troubled production – Kyle MacLachlan and David Lynch fell out over the cast having to work with what they deemed to be pale imitators of Lynch (they had a point). MacLachlan dragged his feet, then told Lynch he had no interest (as did co-star Lara Flynn Boyle) in reprising his role for the prequel. So, Lynch and co-writer Robert Engels invented Chet Desmond as a replacement figure.

Engels explained to fan mag Blue Rose (Issue 2), MacLachlan and Lynch buried the hatchet and about a month into the shoot, that he would, after all, return to play Coop, in a reduced capacity. Chet’s disappearance was written in and Coop sent out to Deer Meadow and Wind River. According to Engels, his wife suggested Coop finds Desmond’s car with ‘let’s rock’ written on it.

Published 1 Aug 2017

Tags: David Lynch Laura Dern Mark Frost Twin Peaks

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